I’ve asked this question 50 times so far ...
Sam 45, married three kids. From Lancashire now lives in London. Busy conducting 100 interviews.
How are you?
This is weird - I’ve asked this question 50 times so far and now I’m being asked it myself and it feels really odd! But to answer the question, I am in a much better place now. It's been a tricky few years losing both my parents and trying to deal with "normal life", but there has been a weird liberation too; a sort of freeing sensation that I could be and do whatever I wanted. I had this overwhelming feeling of not wanting to be stuck or restricted in my life and if those feeling came up I'd try to override them. I needed to be really true about the way I felt about things. If something needed to be said then it was said. Change was coming and it was exciting.
What’s your most memorable experience?
I'm not sure it's my most memorable but it's the one that came up immediately when you asked. It was when I was three years old. We were sat at our table eating dinner; I remember it because we were having strawberries and cream in really pretty and delicate crystal glasses. My Mum stood up and threw one at my Dad. I can't remember anything else but they're relationship didn't last much longer.
How do other people see you?
I get the sense sometimes that people know that I know what's going on inside of them. You know when you know something and you don’t have any logical explanation - just a sixth sense? I get that a lot and I sense that other people are aware that I know something and they feel a little exposed.
What brings you down?
Negative energy. It can have quite an impact. Moaning gets me down too. I don’t mind when people need to get something off their chest but it’s when they're stuck in the same repetitive cycles that I find hard. Occasionally my brain undermines me and makes me feel I don’t have the confidence to do stuff but I am very aware of that side of me and try hard not to get pulled in. Fortunately it doesn't last long.
What are you're dreams and desires, what make you get out of bed in the morning?
Well for one thing I wouldn't get out of bed until 9 if I didn't have to - I love my bed. I just love lazing around until I’m ready to get up.
I am a women with many pairs of rose coloured glasses. World Peace and thin thighs is my mantra. On a more realistic level I’d like a bigger garden - a walled garden would be nice. Maybe to live near a mountain and be surrounded by lakes and nature. Most of the time I am quite content, even though I live in a busy city with 8 million others.
Where does all your energy go?
I give a lot of energy listening but that doesn't exhaust me, in fact it replenishes me. Taxiing my children here, there and everywhere. That's not much fun. I used to do too much in a day and be unaware that my energy was depleted. I’d give my energy away and not replenish it and find I'd exhausted myself. I think that's a slippery slope into depression. You can’t run on empty, you have to take time for yourself; quiet still time. Eating properly, drinking water and getting lots of fresh air - AND CHOCOLATE!
How do you see yourself?
As a vibrant force of life. Energetic and enthusiastic with bells on. Sometimes to the point where I could slap myself. I get very excited about stuff which I always thought as a positive attribute but sometimes I just want to shut myself up. I am passionate, interested, funny, inquisitive and love learning new stuff. I’m a good listener and I like listening. It gives me a lot of pleasure. But I also see myself as a loner. I have a lot of extrovert tendencies but I am very much in touch with my introvert too. She needs to be listened to much more these days.
What do you like about yourself?
I am happy in my skin. I like my openness and curiosity. I have a child like spirit. I feel blessed to have an optimistic disposition. I know this sounds like I’m blowing my own trumpet, but I like me.
How do you best express yourself?
I wear black, not exclusively but mostly. I sing a lot, mainly in the car or the shower. I don’t know more than one line of any song so it's a bit annoying for anyone who's listening!
Who or what inspires you?
Two things inspire me most; Nature, it is above everything - it’s very grounding. No one is above nature - it just gets on with life. It reaps, it sows, it’s wonderful. You want to know about life, watch nature. The seasons, it’s cyclical like us. That is my biggest inspiration in life, that and people. All these women I have interviewed - they're all amazing. It might just be a one liner that seemed so insignificant to them, a comment or a reaction to something. All the unsaid stuff that I felt and heard through our conversations. I am inspired again and again by re reading all the interviews. I love ordinary people especially if they're trying to be honest with themselves.
What would you like to leave for the next generation?
If I had a magic wand I would love a more fearless society. For everyone to reach their full potential and be fulfilled. A more holistic approach to health and education where people learn and heal at their own pace. Everyone has good stuff in them it just needs society to value and nurture its inhabitants. No one should feel down and lonely. That's not what humans are about.
Are you free?
I started experiencing freedom when my Mum died. Although I lived quite a long way from her there was a deep connection and once she’d died there was a huge sense of loss and sadness but as with most things there was a polarity, and that was freedom. Maybe because the energy of her having cancer for so long had subconsciously taken its toll - who knows? I definitely feel unburdened and freer, more than ever. Maybe it’s a life stage too. My kids are getting older and need me less.